Horse Boredom Busters - Toys & Enrichment Tips for Stall or Pasture
Luckily, we've rounded up 11 tips and toys to help beat the boredom blues and provide natural enrichment for horses during their down time - whether they are on stall rest or in a pasture, pen, or paddock.
Why is Enrichment Important for Horses?
- Walking and grazing
- Interacting with herd mates – to play and to learn social skills, including boundaries and respect from herd mates higher up in the pecking order
- Providing periods of rest with the mental comfort of a mate standing guard. Horses sleep only 3 to 4 hours in a 24-hour period and usually no longer than 20 minutes at one time. The quality of their sleep is adversely affected when they are without herd mates.
11 Tips & Toys to Reduce Boredom, Stress & Anxiety
1. Offer a Nose-It® for entertainment
2. Provide traffic cones to play with (an inexpensive boredom breaker)
3. Encourage play with a Jolly Tug 14" Horse Ball
4. Consider an Equi-Spirit ball for extra durability
5. Hang a Horseman's Pride salt on a rope for entertainment
6. Place a barrel in the enclosure
7. Offer free choice forage in multiple locations - either loose or from slow feeders
8. If you have an only child (equine), consider a companion
9. If you have a herd, allow your entire herd to eat and live together full time
Dominant members will keep the others moving as they claim various forage sites. The less dominant individuals will have alternate sources to eat from; this encourages movement and can decrease cortisol levels associated with stress from being physically separated from each other. Food aggression typically subsides in a short period of time if free choice forage is offered in multiple locations and the locations outnumber the herd count by at least one. Can horses really eat more hay without weight gain? Learn about the surprising factors.
10. Offer a water source to play in
11. Create a paddock paradise
- Hanging items with rope, which if hung high can cause issues in the poll, neck and back. If hung too low, it can possibly wrap around their neck or leg
- Plastic jugs with cut outs that can potentially be sharp
- Whole carrots that they might choke on
Have Safe Boredom Buster Tips to Share?
Helpful How to Resources for Slow Feeding
- Can Horses Eat More Hay Without Weight Gain? The Surprising Factors
- Sand Colic - The Surprising (Simple) Cure & Prevention
- How to Introduce & Incorporate Free-Choice Forage: A Detailed Action Plan
- Slow Feed Solutions for Any Environment
- Feeding Miniature Horses & Donkeys: Why Slow Fed Forage is Best
- How I Chose the Best Slow Feeder for My Horse
- 6 Great Reasons to Feed Your Horse from Ground Level
- 9 Benefits of Slow Feeding Horses
- 7 Slow Feed Dos and Dont's for Horses
- 7 Easy Ways to Help Prevent Colic
- Preventing Equine Gastric Ulcers - How Forage Buffers Acid
- Never Exercise Horses on an Empty Stomach...Ever
- Why You Shouldn't Transport Horses On An Empty Stomach
- Keeping Horses Warm Naturally – Internally and Externally
- Why Most Horse Prefer to Eat Outside